MUSiK / News / Wed 19 May 2021

Kirklees Council Partners with I'll Fly Away Foundation

Kirklees Council Partners with I'll Fly Away Foundation

Kirklees Council has formed a partnership with The I’ll Fly Away Foundation in the USA, which uses the power of music to engage children and improve their lives through songwriting. Through this partnership, the I’ll Fly Away Foundation will be connecting children from the United Kingdom and the United States through an online songwriting workshop to unlock their creative potential and help inspire their dreams.

Founded in 2011 by husband and wife team Betsy Brumley and Kevin Bernier, the I’ll Fly Away Foundation celebrates its 10-year anniversary in 2021. “I’ll Fly Away,” written by Betsy’s grandfather, Albert E. Brumley in 1932, is one of the most recognizable hymns in history and has been recorded by music artists in nearly every genre. The saying goes “it all starts with a song,” and the I’ll Fly Away Foundation believes that a song can change a life. “I’ve always believed every crisis has a silver lining and because of the pandemic we were able to form an international songwriting collaboration project earlier than planned. We knew we needed to bring hope to young people in both our nations. Our partners are like family and we have come together to unite our children in song,” shared Betsy.

“As we were writing the songs, it really broke down those barriers, and the walls came down,” Betsy shared with American Songwriter. “All of a sudden, these kids were communicating in the same language: song. They were writing songs and practicing them together on the playground. Teachers were telling us that these kids never played together and now they were, through this understanding of songs.”

Kath Wynne-Hague, Strategic Lead for Cultural Development of Kirklees Council describes the impact this program will have on the workshop participants, “I am so excited to be working with the I’ll Fly Away Foundation and partners, to deliver this fabulous project. Through songwriting, we hope to bring young people together from the heart of West Yorkshire, UK, and the USA to explore their creativity, develop new skills and most importantly build friendships. This project is the start of a partnership that we hope to grow for years to come. Here in Kirklees, we have our Year of Music in 2023, and we have ambitions to deliver something amazing for all involved.”

“Songwriting workshops and international student exchanges are part of the perfect world for the Stax Music Academy,” shared the academy’s Executive Director Pat Mitchell Worley. “Now, with the 2019 installation of our permanent Justin Timberlake/ Levi’s Music Project Songwriting Lab,” she continued, “we are shifting more emphasis toward songwriting and music business as the students move forward with creating original music. Our partnership with the I’ll Fly Away Foundation pairing us with young UK songwriters virtually is exciting for our current students on multiple levels, especially during this time when travel is so difficult. We are so happy to help the foundation celebrate their 10th anniversary with these workshops and look forward to much more collaboration in the future.”

Emily Havens, Executive Director for GRAMMY Museum Mississippi shared her enthusiasm, “We are thrilled to partner with the I’ll Fly Away Foundation once again to make this songwriting workshop possible for young musicians around the world.”

For more information about the I'll Fly Away Foundation please visit the website below.

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